A randomized, single-blind study shows that omega-3 oils can reduce cholesterol levels and improve other disease biomarkers, but in different ways depending on the type of omega-3. Published in Lipids in Health and Disease, the study divided 59 participants with early-stage type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome into three groups: the control group received corn oil, the second group received a combination of borage oil and echium oil, and the third group received fish oil—all in capsule form. The daily amount of borage and echium oil given to participants contained 1.9 grams of the omega-3 alpha-linoleic acid (ALA). In contrast, the daily amount of fish oil contained a small amount of ALA, but did have significant amounts of the omega-3s EPA (3.58 grams) and DHA (2.44 grams). The daily amounts of corn oil had relatively low levels of these omega-3s. The study lasted for eight weeks. Here’s what the researchers discovered at the end of it:
People in the borage and echium oil group experienced a significant reduction in both total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, compared to their pre-treatment levels.
People in the fish oil group saw a significant reduction in triglycerides, an increase in HDL cholesterol, and a significant decrease in hemoglobin A1c (an important biomarker for type 2 diabetes), compared to their pre-treatment levels.
Taking corn oil did not produce a change in any of these disease biomarkers.
While it is important to confirm these results in studies with longer treatment durations and larger sample sizes, the study not only suggests that different omega-3s may affect disease biomarkers differently, but also indicates a possible role for botanical oils like borage and echium in addressing health issues related to type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Source: Lipids in Health and Disease